If you suspect that you have got bladder cancer, a urine test is suggested. For men, rectal examination will be performed. For women, rectal examination and vaginal examination should be performed. The urine sample is sent to the laboratory to check if there are cancer cells. If necessary, a urologist will conduct a further examination including:
i. Cystocope and Biopsy
This examination may need local or general anesthesia. The doctor inserts a thin, lighted tube to look directly into the bladder to examine the lining of the bladder.Samples of tissue can be removed with the cystocope for further examination and pathological analysis.
ii. Intravenous pyelogram
This can identify abnormal conditions of the kidney, bladder and the urinary system. The doctor injects dye which is excreted in the urine, enabling the doctor to see conditions in the kidney, the urethra and the bladder on X-rays.
The dye may cause the the patient a short period of burning feeling, blushing but it rarely causes death.
If it is confirmed that the patient has got bladder cancer, the patient has to go through blood tests, thoracic X-ray examination and the following examinations. They are for identifying the stages of the cancer growth, which is thus used to decide on the treatment plans.
iii. Computer Scan
To scan the abdomen and pelvis from different angles, locating precisely where the tumor is and its size. The patient needs to drink a special dye. The process takes more than 10 minutes.
iv. Radioistopes Bone Scan
This is to check if the cancer cells have spread to the skeletons. During the examination, the medical staff will inject a small dose of radioisotopes into the blood vessel of the patient’s arm. They will then measure the small amount of radioactive index inside the body. The cancer affected skeleton will show a large amount of radioactivity and the doctor is to judge if the cancer has spread. The injected dose of radioisotopes is so small that it will not cause the patient to carry radiation.
v. Ultra-sonic Abdomen and Pelvic Scan
This is to synthesize the image of the abdomen and the pelvis. The patient has to drink a large quantity of liquid to blow up the bladder. This test needs a few minutes and the patient has to stop eating or drinking 4 hours prior to examination.